Eagle rescued after being ensnared in fishing line, lure

by duceditor

Another bald eagle has been rescued by Northlanders, this time after a fishing lure pierced its foot and it became entangled in line on Whiteface Reservoir, north of Duluth.

Rescued eagle
Residents of Whiteface Reservoir north of Duluth rescued this bald eagle Saturday after the bird was pierced by a fishing lure and entangled in fishing line. The bird was taken to the University of Minnesota Raptor Center. Its condition wasn’t available late Monday.

Another bald eagle has been rescued by Northlanders, this time after a fishing lure pierced its foot and it became entangled in line on Whiteface Reservoir, north of Duluth.

The injured eagle is part of a mating pair with a single young eaglet nesting on the lake and watched regularly by local residents, said Lee Hagadorn, who lives on the lake.

She said the eagle just stood in her neighbor’s yard Saturday afternoon, unable to fly.

“We could see it was in trouble and that the Rapala was stuck on it. It seemed like it couldn’t move very well,” she said. “We fed it some turkey and gave it some water.”

Neighbor Jim Hagstrom, who has done some falconry and knows birds for his taxidermy work, tried to capture the wounded bird. At first it hobbled into the water, Hagadorn said, but it eventually came onto the beach “and just laid on its back. It couldn’t move.”

Hagstrom eventually wrapped the bird in a lifejacket and worked to get the lure unhooked and cut the line off the bird’s legs. The eagle, apparently an adult male, also had a swollen left leg from the fishing line and what appeared to be some sort of deformity or injury to its beak or jaw.

“It had really worked on the lure trying to get it off,” Hagadorn said.

Hagstrom drove the eagle to Island Lake near Duluth where Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Randy Hanzal took over.

“He had it wrapped in a blanket on his lap like a little baby,” Hanzal said. “It appeared to be in pretty good shape. … We kept it at my house Saturday night and fed it a little and it drank some water.”

A Hawk Ridge Nature Area staffer then drove the eagle to the University of Minnesota Raptor Center in St. Paul on Sunday night.

The bird is being treated with antibiotics to fight infection of the wounds and anti-inflammatory drugs for pain management, said Julie Ponder, executive director of the Raptor Center. She said the misshapen beak, called cross-beak, was a chronic condition unrelated to his current injuries.

Hagadorn said she and neighbors have nicknamed the eagle Rapala and hope it can be released soon back on the lake.

“Its baby is out there just screaming for it. So is the mate,” she said. “I sure hope they can release it out here soon. We hope he’s all right.”

It’s the second high-profile eagle rescue this month in the Northland. A Cloquet man rescued a Wisconsin eagle along a roadside and drove it more than 50 miles to Duluth after strapping the eagle to his Harley Davidson motorcycle.

That eagle, nicknamed Harley, suffered from a broken wing and lead poisoning, likely picked up by ingesting bullet fragments while feeding on a deer carcass. Ponder said Harley’s lead levels are back down to normal and his broken wing continues to heal. He’ll be moved soon to a larger room to work his wings, then eventually test flown, Ponder said.

The Raptor Center treats as many as 800 birds of prey each year, including about 100 eagles. Nearly 30 percent of eagles treated there suffer from elevated lead levels.

Lure stuck in eagle's foot
This Rapala lure was stuck in the foot of a bald eagle rescued Saturday on Whiteface Reservoir north of Duluth. The bird was unable to free itself from the lure and a length of fishing line, but local residents helped out.

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